Enforced Disappearances: CJP Urges Resolution; Baloch Protestors Call Nationwide Strike

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Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa emphasized the urgency of addressing enforced disappearances and missing persons, asserting that collective responsibility was necessary to resolve the issue. During a hearing, the CJP, along with a three-member bench, addressed petitions concerning missing persons. Notably, former Senator Aitzaz Ahsan’s application highlighted the constitutional violations arising from enforced disappearances.

Advocate Shoaib Shaheen, representing Ahsan, urged the court to acknowledge the violations of various constitutional articles and international standards by the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances. The bench discussed the shortcomings of the commission and the distressing number of over 2,200 individuals still missing without any information about their whereabouts.

While political dimensions surfaced during the hearing, with the mention of missing political activists, the CJP cautioned against politicizing the matter. He also inquired about the missing bill presented by former human rights minister Shireen Mazari, highlighting the lack of accountability in such cases.

Additionally, discussions delved into missing journalists and cases from Balochistan, prompting Justice Isa to highlight the regular hearings on missing persons in the Balochistan High Court, expressing surprise at the absence of mentioning the Islamabad sit-in in the filed petition.

The CJP stressed the need for detailed lists of missing persons and urged for a solution, seeking data on disappearances since 2001. The hearing adjourned until the following day.

Simultaneously, Baloch protesters called for a nationwide strike on January 3, criticizing state officials’ alleged indifference to their demands regarding enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Balochistan. The Baloch Yakjehti Committee announced the strike to advocate for the preservation of the Baloch identity and address their grievances.

This call for action emerged following dismissive comments from caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, who labeled supporters of the protests as sympathizers of Baloch militants, sparking a sharp response from protest organizers. Dr. Mahrang Baloch denounced the government’s stance, reiterating the peaceful nature of their demands and vowing to persist in highlighting alleged state oppression and human rights violations in Balochistan.

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